I’m the mine manager for Dalradian and in short that means making sure that all work taking place in the mine is done safely is co-ordinated and is done to world-class standards. Currently there is no mining taking place but there are still care and maintenance requirements to be undertaken.
When mining I staking place I will manage the underground operations, with health and safety being the number one priority. I will hold daily safety meetings and brief teams on what needs to be done, as well as co-ordinating and planning work. I will also continue to maintain all machinery, ensure that the mine is properly ventilated and that ground conditions are good. In this industry safety is always paramount and is at the heart of everything we do.
Due to the fact that mining isn’t taking place I deal extensively with local suppliers and businesses to source products and services that the mine will need should planning permission be granted. Most of the equipment for the mine will be supplied and sourced locally. A mine needs a wide range of equipment and services, from crushing plant and water treatment plants to conveyancing systems to fabrication work. I’ve visited 70 local companies so far. Dalradian is very fortunate that businesses located across west Tyrone have such a rich engineering heritage, and related skills in the supply and maintenance of machinery.
I have 35 years’ experience of mining, having worked in Africa, Australia and the south of Ireland. I was a mine supervisor and part of the management team at Lisheen mine in Tipperary and was there from its establishment in 1999. At the beginning some local people were apprehensive about the presence of underground zinc and lead mine in their community. However, the Lisheen mine went on to play a great role in the local community, providing jobs for hundreds of people and new custom, not only for the suppliers to the mine itself, but also a host of other businesses from car dealers to restaurants. Lisheen mine was a great asset to the area and I am sure Dalradian will be too.
In my experience of mining the way it works in terms of employment is that at the very start of work around 70 percent of the employees will be local and the remainder will be made up of experienced miners who have worked in mines before. The aim after a few years is to end up with 95%, if not more, of a local workforce through training and skilling while working on the job.
From a business point of view it is much better to have a skilled, experienced local workforce. From a community point of view it is also better to give back to the local communities of which you are a part. At Dalradian we have already trained up a number of drillers assistants, all of whom were local, to be drillers working on the exploration project. That’s a good feeling.
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